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Bizfest Launch

Pictured below at the launch of Bizfest in the National Opera House

L-R, Tom Banville (LEO Wexford), Ann Byrne (LEO Carlow), Andrew (Bank of Ireland, Wexford), Ivan Yates (Bizfest 2017 MC), Mary Walsh (LEO Kilkenny), Brian Fives (Enterprise Ireland) and Jim Hughes (Innovate).

Bizfest 2017 Launchbizfest 2017

“Look further, think bigger, be ambitious” Bizfest 2017 launched at the National Opera House, Wexford

Bizfest is a free networking event aimed at helping Irish companies to develop their networks and expand their business. “Look further, think bigger, be ambitious” is the theme of this year’s event which takes place on the 21st of June at the National Opera House, Wexford.

Now in its 4th year, Bizfest 2017 will be hosted by the south-east region Local Enterprise Office’s and Enterprise Ireland. The event is sponsored by Bank of Ireland.

Bizfest aims to provide an opportunity for owners, managers and their key staff across Ireland to make connections while immersing themselves in the experience, entrepreneurial spirit and stories of entrepreneurs.

Bizfest has 3 elements; The first element is a networking lunch, the second is an exhibition area which introduces attendees to services which may benefit their business. The third element is a panel event featuring unique business people who have experience on the local, national and international stage.

This year’s panel includes Julie Sinnamon CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Patsy Carney CEO of Eirgen, Jim Hughes CEO of Innovate and Paul Jacob Owner of Smart Storage.

The event is hosted by Newstalk presenter and Wexford native, Ivan Yates.

Speaking about the event Tom Banville, Head of Enterprise at LEO Wexford on behalf of the South East Local Enterprise Office’s said; “The Local Enterprise Office Networking Events are popular and engaging events which generate much interest from businesses and help make connections happen. Which in turn develop key relationships, boost revenues and help maintain and create jobs”.

Bizfest 2017 is co-hosted by Bank of Ireland, speaking at the launch Andrew Owen, Branch Manager in Wexford said; “We are delighted to support Bizfest 2017 and would encourage all businesses from the area to participate in the event. This first class networking forum will provide them with a fantastic opportunity to make connections with their peers across the country who will attend this event”

Panellist Jim Hughes co-founder and CEO of Innovate said “Making the right connections is a vital part of doing business in this country. This is a very useful networking event for Ireland’s enterprise community”

To book a free place at Bizfest 2017; e-mail or call 053 9196020.

Tickets to Bizfest are free of charge and can be booked via the LEO Wexford website:


For further information contact:Wexford Local Enterprise office;

e-mail or call 053 919602


Social Media:


Speakers Confirmed to date:

Ivan Yates (MC) - Newstalk Presenter.

Julie Sinnamon -CEO - Enterprise Ireland

Jim Hughes – CEO and Co-Founder Innovate.

Patsy Carney – CEO and Co-Founder Eirgen Pharma.

Paul Jacob – Owner and Founder Smart Storag 


Ivan Yates (MC) - Newstalk Presenter

Ivan Yates has had unique life experience in politics, business and media. A former government minister and Wexford TD for more than 20 years; an entrepreneur who founded and developed Celtic Bookmakers to employ 400 people, with €200 million turnover.

He bounced back from bankruptcy in Wales in 2012 to become a highly successful national broadcaster presenting top-rated programmes on Newstalk and TV3; as well as a leading columnist with the Irish Independent newspaper.

In 2014 he published his best-selling autobiography, ‘Full On’ with acclaimed reviews. 


Julie Sinnamon - CEO of Enterprise Ireland

Julie Sinnamon is CEO of Enterprise Ireland, a government agency responsible for the growth of Irish-owned businesses in global markets.

Prior to her appointment to CEO in November 2013, Julie held a number of senior public sector positions, spanning a 30 year career in Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.  

Julie has considerable experience in a variety of industry sectors, most notably the food sector, where she has worked directly with some of Ireland's best-known food brands, from their originating idea, right through to globally trading multi-national food businesses.

Julie is a member of the Board and Investment Committee of Enterprise Ireland.  She has managed Enterprise Ireland's commercial evaluation division and Enterprise Ireland's equity portfolio, one of the largest equity portfolios in Europe, in terms of deal flow.

In 2015, Julie was appointed to the Investment Committee of the Irish Strategic Investment Fund, part of the National Treasury Management Agency, by the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan. She has been recently appointment to the National Competitiveness Council. She is also a Board Member of the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition Limited.

Julie's driving ambition is for Irish-owned industry to become a powerhouse of job creation in Ireland, resulting in rising prosperity in towns and cities all across Ireland.  In pursuit of this objective, Julie is mobilising all Enterprise Ireland resources and harnessing the power of external stakeholders and partners, into a cohesive effort to build more Irish companies of international scale.

Julie is a strong proponent of initiatives that drive diversity and the building of balanced teams in the workplace.  She is a champion for women engaging at all levels within both the public and private sector, not as an end in itself, but because of clear evidence of the positive impact of diversity on corporate performance.

Julie is a business graduate of the University of Ulster, has a Masters in International Business (Fordham and IMI) and is a graduate of the Stanford Executive Programme, USA.

She is originally from Crossgar, Co. Down and is married with two adult children.


Jim Hughes – CEO and Co - Founder of INNOVATE

In 2006, at the age of 25, Jim Hughes entrepreneurial spirit came to the fore and he founded Innovate together with Enda Cahill, Innovate’s chief technical officer. Their vision in setting up the business was to provide differentiated value while delivering the highest levels of customer service, at all times focusing on attracting and retaining the best people in the industry. In 2012 they set up their communications business unit, VoiceGrid to provide integrated communication systems. a career in IT provided Jim with a technical grounding, but his interest in people and belief in the power of a growth mind-set has enabled him to found and build a leading IT service provider based on the pillars of excellence, leadership and respect.


Patsy Carney – CEO and Co-Founder of Eirgen Pharma

Co-founded EirGen in 2005 with Tom Brennan. Since then they have grown the company, constantly investing and expanding operations at its Waterford Base, while developing new innovations in the research and development of chemotherapy drugs. EirGen employs 76 people and has contracts in 45 countries and it is one of the leading developers and suppliers of high potency niche pharmaceutical products in the world. EirGen Pharma was sold to US-Based Opko for €120m in 2015.

Patsy previously Head of Operations and BD for IVAX Ireland (14 years)

Patsy holds a BSc In Industrial Chemistry from University of Limerick and an MBA from University of Limerick


Paul Jacob – Founder and Owner - Smart Storage

In 2011 Paul Jacob founded & developed Smart Storage, the 1st modular under-stairs storage system to fit into all domestic homes. Manufactured in Ireland and supplied across the UK & Ireland. Providing a supply and installation service to the domestic consumer, Smart Storage also provide flat-packed and easily assembled option to developers and builders across the UK.

The former construction engineer appeared on Dragons Den last back in 2012. Two of the Dragons offered him more than he initially asked for and it was Norah Casey, CEO of Harmonia, who ultimately sealed the deal. After almost an hour and three quarters of grilling in the Den, Paul came away with an investment of €65,000 for 20 per cent of his business. He has grown the business dramatically since then. Smart Storage are working with some of the leading housing developers, their products are now being installed in new housing developments across the UK & Ireland.